This story was a very skillfully crafted, humorous yet suspenseful, jab at various government entities (alien ones included). I found myself laughing aloud on a number of occasions as I read this unique treasure, and despite the humorous nature of the relaying, I found it quite suspenseful and tense throughout.
“Remembering how the humans frequently commented that my proboscis “gave them the willies,” I rubbed it against Vince’s hand. He moved back so quickly, he knocked his chair over and sprawled on the floor. I smiled at him, giving him a view of my undazzling chewing ridges. The others laughed, and this time not at me.”
The personal interactions between the alien (Doug), and his human handlers are described with rich emotional narrative that clearly conveyed the personalities of the characters. The story was well balanced and had just the right degree of “side story” to round out the rough edges on detail.
I found myself wanting to know Doug, Lee and Lloyd…I unfortunately, already know Avery. Susan Hasler did a praiseworthy job of embodying in her characters, the various major personality types one comes to be familiar with in various governmental organizations (Agency, Military, or Bureau). Despite the familiar traits, Hasler gives them enough individuality that you don’t realize that’s what she has done. I was curious as to why this was listed in satire, but it is very clear now. She has successfully lampooned quite a wide range of characters and agencies.
I would recommend this book to anyone as it crosses many genres, is uproariously funny at times and paints a rich picture of human (and alien) relationships. Bravo.